Premier League strugglers Aston Villa and Southampton are keeping close tabs on Rio Ave defender Marcelo dos Santos Ferreira, according to A Bola.
Both sides are currently involved in the relegation tussle and they are looking for ways to improve their respective squads in the winter transfer window.
A Bola has learned that Aston Villa and Southampton have watched the Brazilian centre-back in action this season with a view of luring him to England.
That could prove to be a problem though considering that the 26-year-old would find it hard to obtain a work permit having failed to make a single appearance for the Brazil national team.
The highly rated defender, who can also operate as a holding midfielder, played for Vasco da Gama and Rio Preto in native Brazil before joining Portuguese minnows Riberao in 2010.
Since 2011, Marcelo has been with Rio Ave and it looks as though he is ready for the next step in his career.